More states introduce bills attacking trans kids

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A transgender woman in a hospital gown being treated by a doctor. (Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly's Gender Spectrum Collection. Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection. Made available to media outlets via Creative Commons. No derivatives, no commercial use. See guidelines here: broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/guidelines)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky and South Dakota have introduced bills that would criminalize providing transgender kids with transition related healthcare.

If passed, the bills would punish both medical providers and parents supporting transgender children.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that a bill sponsored by state Rep. Savannah Maddox, would make it a felony for medical providers to prescribe medications, including puberty-blocking or hormone treatments, or conduct surgeries, for anyone younger than 18 with the intent to alter their gender.

Maddox did not respond to messages seeking comment from the newspaper. 

The Washington Post reported that South Dakota’s House passed a bill that would ban physicians from treating trans children with hormones and sex reassignment surgery on Wednesday. It would make prescribing puberty blockers and other treatments to anyone 16 years old or younger a misdemeanor. It now goes to the state senate. The state legislature, like Kentucky’s, is GOP controlled.

“By blocking medical care supported by every major medical association, the legislature is compromising the health of trans youth in dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways,” Libby Skarin, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, said in a statement received by the Post after Wednesday’s vote.

The ACLU has said they will challenge it if it becomes law. However, according to the Post, the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has offered to defend the law pro bono.

The newspaper reported that conservative state legislators in Florida, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina have filed similar bills, arguing the laws protect young people from making what they call “life-altering changes.” Some lawmakers even say the treatments aren’t healthcare and should be considered criminal acts that are harmful for children.

Kentucky’s bill comes just two days after another bill that would bar transgender students from participating in sports that match their gender identity without going through the very medical procedures the latest bill would ban.

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